Should I Brine My Turkey Breast Before Roasting Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast Is Perfect for a Small Gathering

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Prep:
20 mins

Cook:
3 hrs

Brine Time:
8 hrs

Total:
11 hrs 20 mins

Servings:
8
to 10 servings


Yield:
1 turkey breast
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
554 Calories
12g Fat
10g Carbs
96g Protein

Show Full Nutrition Label

×

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 554
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 254mg 85%
Sodium 9434mg 410%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 96g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 62mg 5%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 823mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Whether a Sunday family meal or an intimate holiday dinner, a turkey breast is an ideal centerpiece—and is easier to prepare than a whole bird. This turkey breast is flavorful and moist thanks to the simple brine of water, salt, brown sugar, and spices. You should plan ahead as the turkey breast needs to sit in the brine overnight or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Once brined, the turkey breast is roasted, stuffed with onion, citrus, and herbs if you like. Because of the brine, the turkey doesn’t need much additional flavoring, making this a simple recipe to prepare.

Ingredients

For the Brine:

  • 1 gallon ice cold water

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt (if you only have table salt, use 1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 3 bay leaves, crumbled

  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon mixed or black peppercorns, crushed

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

For the Turkey:

  • 1 (5- to 7-pound) bone-in turkey breast

  • Vegetable oil, melted butter, or olive oil, for brushing on the turkey

  • Kosher salt or seasoned salt blend, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Onion chunks, for the cavity

  • Lemon slices, for the cavity

  • Orange slices, for the cavity

  • Apple chunks, for the cavity

  • Fresh herbs, for the cavity

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Brined turkey breast ingredients

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the turkey breast in a large cooking bag; place the bag with the turkey in a large roasting pan or another large container (just in case the bag leaks). 

    Place turkey in cooking bag and put on roasting pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  3. Add all brine ingredients to the bag, close the bag and then twist until the brine is covering the turkey. Use a twist-tie to secure the bag. Alternately, use a large, nonreactive covered container. Just make sure the turkey is completely covered with the brine (it is okay to increase the amount of brine for a container). Place the turkey breast in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

    Add seasoning and brine ingredients to cooking bag and refrigerate turkey

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  4. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it thoroughly with cold water; pat the breast dry with paper towels.

    pat turkey dry on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  5. Place the turkey breast on a rack, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. Discard the brine.

    turkey on a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  6. Rub the turkey with vegetable oil, butter, or extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    seasoned turkey on a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  7. Fill the cavity of the turkey breast with chunks of onion, fruit, and/or fresh herbs, if desired.

    Fill turkey cavity with onion, fruit, and herbs in a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  8. Place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, not touching bone.

    Place meat thermometer in turkey on a roasting pan

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


  9. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 F and continue roasting until the turkey breast registers at least 165 F, about 2 to 3 hours.

    Brined and Roasted Turkey Breast

    The Spruce / Eric Kleinberg


Tips

  • If you don’t have room in the refrigerator for the turkey breast in the brine, you can use a large cooler, but it is important to keep the breast at a temperature no higher than 40 F. Put the turkey in a large, sturdy storage bag or container and surround it with ice. The ice will also need to be replenished to keep the turkey at a safe temperature of 40 F.
  • Instead of a rack, you can place the turkey breast on a bed of sliced onions and carrot and celery sticks.
  • If using a thawed turkey breast, make sure not to leave it in the brine for longer than 24 hours; otherwise, the meat will be too salty and have a spongy texture.
  • This brine also works well when deep-frying a turkey breast.

Can You Brine a Frozen Turkey Breast?

If it’s time to brine the turkey and the breast is still frozen, you can still place it in the brine. Just make sure to leave the turkey breast in the brine until it has fully defrosted.

 

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How to Brine a Turkey Breast Before Smoking : Simple Recipes & Cooking Tips

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Brining a turkey breast before smoking it will help make sure that it has all of the rich flavor that you’ve come to count on. Brine a turkey breast before smoking with help from an experienced culinary professional in this free video clip.

Expert: Patrick Long
Bio: Patrick Long has food in his blood. He spent summers as a child at his mother’s bakery, located in Downtown Greenville, South Carolina.
Filmmaker: Brandon A Gibbs

Series Description: Simple recipes are great for everyday use, especially if you’ve got to feed a family and don’t have a lot of time to do it in. Learn how to embrace simple recipes and cooking tips with help from an experienced culinary professional in this free video series.

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